Share your career history

And when I say history, I mean go all the way back, as far as you can remember.

For instance, the earliest career ambition I had (4 or 5 yo) was to become a carpenter or woodworker. At 7-8 I wanted to drive a semi. At 10 I clearly recall wanting to be a “trivia expert”, which I suppose would entail earning a living through regular appearances on TV game shows.

By age 12, I had a somewhat more realistic viewpoint and became interested in aeronautical engineering. In high school, I decided that airplanes were too crude (this was around the time of the first wave of personal computers ~1980), so I decided I wanted to be a computer programmer or designer. Then, in a temporary period of disenchantment with practicality, I decided to become a theoretical physicist.

In college, I veered back into the world of the practical and changed my major from physics to mechanical engineering after a couple of years. Spent a few years working in the automotive industry, then went to graduate school with the intention of becoming a professor of engineering. After finishing my doctorate, I found that the schools I wanted teach at did not want to hire me, and the schools that wanted to hire me, I did not want to teach at. So I took my degree back to industry and became an aerospace engineer. I guess I have fulfilled my age-12 ambition, but at this point, the “gentleman farmer” lifestyle is starting to look appealing.

I’m omitting most of the details of what was behind each change in direction to save space, but feel free to share your thoughts.

When I was 6 or 7 I was caught on cassette tape saying I wanted to be a “Big Red Fire Chief”(my sister wanted to be a little Indian Girl when she grew up). Then for the next 10 years I had no career ambitions. Then when I was 17ish, I saw a list of what jobs paid. The only one that paid a lot and WASN’T doctor or lawyer was Comercial Pilot. So I went that way for a year or 2. Flying scared the shit out of me so after 40some odd hours of stick time and 3000$ of my parents money, I dropped out of that. Soon after I dropped out of Community College and got married. Then I hung sheet rock for a bit, noticed that there wasn’t any old sheet rockers. So I joined the Air Force, hoping they could give me some kind of career. Any career. I work in the “computer” field now, but I really don’t care. It pays the bills and I dont hate my job. That’s all I really care about. I have often had the desire to teach High School or College history classes, but that wouldn’t pay the bills at the rate I pay them now.

I’m still in college, and young, so I can remember mine very well:

until around age 10, I was going to be a singer, and a doctor in my spare time (ambitious, wasn’t it?)

Around age 12, I regretably dropped the singing career, and decided I would be a doctor.

By age 16, I decided I wouldn’t be in school forever, so I decided I’d drop to a nurse. A few months later my best bud announced she would be a cosmotologist, so I figured I could do that.

By by senior year I was going to be a English teacher, until my english teacher informed my that my poor writing skills and inability to find deeper meaning is the simpliest poetry would make that nearly impossible.

2 months before graduation, I sit down in front of my consouler, and told her I would not leave until she figured out something for me.

She said pharmacy, I said okay, and I’m currently working towards my associates of science degree. If I don’t get in to pharmacy school, I’m jumping back to the singing career :wink:

Horse trainer
to Lawyer
to Biologist
back to Lawyer
back briefly to horse trainer
back to biologist, earned a B.S. and M.S. in vegetation ecology type stuff, and am currently working as a natural resources manager, and wondering if I’ll go onto a PhD and get into research, or stick with the M.S. as a manager.

I don’t remember my really early ambitions, but I know that by the time I was in high school I wanted to be a veterinarian. I went off to college with that ambition, but soon realized that it would take a whole lot of work that I really didn’t want to do, like in math and physics and organic chemistry. I found out that I could get a degree in agriculture without the math and science, so that’s what I did.

After college, I got a job as a research technologist at the University farm, but the money for that position soon ran out. I took what I could get, and became the manager of an Ace Hardware store.

After a couple of years with no benefits, I was looking to go back to the University for work, and got a position as an accounting clerk. I worked my way up to the Manager of Accounts receivable for the department, but realized that I realized that I really wasn’t happy in management.

I loved working with the accounting program we were using, and learned enough programming to get the accounting reports I needed. From there I edged my way into the IT group. I took a few more classes and got a position as a database administrator when they needed a junior dba.

Now I’m a dba for a software development company.

As a toddler, I wanted to be a doctor. At around eight or so, I changed my mind and decided to be an astronomer. I studied quite a bit of astronomy, and was really good at it. I’d consistantly outsmart the teachers at my shmantzy science summer camps. But then in sixth grade I realized that I suck at math and science is gonna involve a lot of math. This revelation, coupled with an unhealthy obsession with my mom’s old college anthropology texts, spurred me to want to be a field archeologist.

Then in middle school, I worked on a documentary project. I also had some editing experience from when my uncle would take me to work night shifts at the local tv station and sit me in the editing suites to keep me out of his hair. I decided to be a film maker. I produced some short videos in high school. I majored in film and digital video production in college and made quite a few projects. I’m currently looking for my first post-college “day job” and whatever film jobs I can get so I can make a short during my time off. Fame and fortune (or at least being able to get some work doing what I love) ought to follow.

As far as paid work…In high school I interned for the California Democratic Party. This lead to a job as an editor’s assistant at a small political newspaper. I worked this throughout high school and had a promising career in politics ahead of me- which I prompty trashed because it was my mom’s idea for my future, not mine.

In college I worked as a carpenter (making theatrical sets), a video store clerk, a cashier at an auto parts store and a freelance editor/researcher.

I’m not sure about the future. Part of me wants to go to grad school. I could study film production and teach college, film theory (which is boring, but I’m really good about it) and teach college and write (but I’d need a PhD, not just an MA), creative writing (I’m a moderately promising writer) and not do anything or some kind of journalism and fulfill my lifelong dream of being a war corrospondant. Or I could just strike out and try to build a journalism career on my own. Or I can keep trying with film. I just don’t know.

What I wanted to do:
Age 6 - ballerina
Age 8 - singer
Age 12 - physical therapist
Age 13 - pediatrician
Age 15 - “You never said anything about CADAVERS!” So much for doctoring.

What I’ve actually done:
Shampoo girl
Fast food worker, followed by fast food restaurant manager
Motorcycle sales
Finance & insurance for motorcycle sales shop
Folding chair manufacturer’s receptionist
Inside sales for a lighting company
Telephone market researcher
Data entry
Employment counselor (Ha! The irony)
Professional craftsperson

Well, here’s up to 17 in no particular order:

  • Paper route
  • Worked in a Print Shop, printing, typesetting, darkroom
  • Worked in a Dental Lab, making copings, crowns, etc.
  • Worked in TV repair shop, making house calls, repairing televisions
  • Various one-shot business schemes, like putting together travel packages when the Super Bowl came to town and selling them to out of towners.
  • Contract coding in C, Asm (first program a property management program on TRS-80 when I was 12.)
  • Repaired Apple II computers for my high school (at $2.85/hour, when minimum wage was $3.15, and what I was doing they had been paying someone else $50/hour; what crooks)

17 was when I got my first real job, coding at Kaypro, with a big leap to $6.50/hour if you can believe that.

Ah the good ol’ days.

In high school: grass cutter, hay hauler, fence builder, pizza maker/dishwasher.

After high school: gas station worker, steel fabrication plant worker, ditch digger, carpenter’s helper, janitor, bus factory assembly line worker, firefighter/ambulance attendant, bobtail truck driver (medium range–Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana), merchant sailor (also medium range–mostly one-month trips between Texas and Panama).

In college: audio/video helper, convenience store clerk, office janitor, factory janitor, food packer, pizza maker/dishwasher, carpenter’s helper, public school substitute teacher, chauffeur, night watchman.

After college: English teacher (university TA, community college part-timer), store manager in Seattle, English teacher again (private school in Japan), substitute teaching in San Francisco, supplemented by dishwashing (a very therapeutic job, but hard on the back), and English teacher again (private school in Korea, and finally, university in Korea).

There are probably some I’ve forgotten. There are certainly some I’d like to forget.

At age 8/9 I wanted to be a nurse, then at about 10/11, I wanted to be a doctor. However I grew very quickly out of the ambition of wanting to go into medicine, and decided from about the age of 13/14 that I was going to be a barrister (note to Americans, a barrister is a lawyer under the British legal system who represents a client in the higher courts, where a solicitor is not allowed to. A barrister cannot be approached by a “lay-person”, but rather is engaged by a solicitor for their client.).

Then, when I was about 17, I decided that that was it, law was not for me, and I wanted to be an astrophysicist, and well, here I am.

In terms of actual employment, I used to have a paper route until I was about 16, adn then I spent time actually concentrating on academic work. At university, as an undergrad, we weren’t allowed to hold part time jobs, but I used to work over the summer. So my summer jobs have been:

Telemarketer (please please don’t hit me - the money was good, and I was a poor penniless student!). Although, that didn’t last for long, I felt awful doing it, and couldn’t sell something to someone who clearly didn’t want it, so I quit. Went on to help lead a summer school for academically gifted ethnic minority high school students who were just thinking about applying to university, and trying to show them that Cambridge wasn’t really some ivory towered, white upper and middle class private domain. It felt good to see that Christmas, one of the girls who had been there, at my college for interview. It was even better to see her there as a student :smiley:

The next summer I worked as the Complaints Secretary for my local health authority. That was bags of fun, being threatened by some nut job because he couldn’t see my boss.

Then, I worked in a factory making and packaging stuff like laundry detergent, kitchen cleaners, and the such like. That was an awful lot of fun, and we had lots of water fights with the hoses kept for cleaning out the machines. Its a good job that my overalls had no diaphanous when wet properties. :wink:

After that, I worked as a legal secretary, in a criminal law firm, which had some interesting stories, which I’m probably not at liberty to reveal here. I also spent some time helping to lead a summer school again (like the one I described above).

Now, I’m a postgrad astrophysicist. I teach first year undergrad maths, as well as going into schools doing schools liason presentations and things like that, as well as leading a residential school in December.

Well, I cannot recall the early stuff apart from I used to follow my Dad around amateur motor racing circuits and so wanted to be a race driver. Then my eyes deteriorated and I foundd I wasn’t naturally any good at sports - every professional race driver seemed to be good at all sport. And I didn’t see any wearing glasses. So, ditched that plan. Then wanted to follow my Dad, and his Dad, and become an architect until I saw how my dads firm struggled after the 1973/4 property crash. My Dad was firm on advising neither of his boys to become architects!

Next thing I remember was out of the blue developing a weird idea of becoming a mining surveyor. Now my school career master wasn’t sure what a mining surveyor was, so that discovery might have only encouraged me. Think it came from a suggestion from my Dad when I was casted around for what I should do at University. It needed to be practical, I thought.

Ended up with a degree in Mining Geology, graduating whilst the big UK coal strike was still going and half of last years mining graduates were still looking for jobs. No jobs in coal and was reluctant to go and work in South Africa (still before the ANC took over). Guess I should have thought of that [i ]before* doing a hard rock mining degree, as most graduates ended up in the RSA.

Managed to convince an oilfield services firm I knew something about petroleum geology and started first job working offshore in Dutch and Danish sectors of the North Sea. Then Tunisia, then Syria. Then comes the 1987 oil price crash and I am out of a job. Contractors are the first to go. With US$9 oil all exploration and most development activity is cancelled.

Hmmm. Meanwhile my Dad is designing a building for a first of city insurance brokers. Gets a card with XXXXX Energy Insurance Brokers on it. Passes it to me wondering if the city could use my experience. Had been off work for over 6 months now so off go the specultative letters. Get a job! From there in four years most to one of the major oil companys as a risk manager (buyer of insurance). Ten year, bored with then and with London job so quit.

Take a year off and travel and climb lots of mountains - best decision I could have made. Back to the UK, three days after return get approached about working out here - back to insurance broking for the booming energy business out here. Sounds interesting and challenging and so here I am.

Early days so still difficult settling down but think it is going to work out. And after the two year contract finishes? Who knows…

I don’t know why, but at one time I thought it would be fun to be a prostitute. I was only about 6 years old.

I wanted to be a teacher at ten, the President of the United States at 16, and a lawyer at 18.

I ended up as a waitress, a counter girl at the food court, a telephone operator and a data entry clerk.

age 5: carpenter
age 6: the guy at the gas station (hey, it was the 70’s and everyone was complaining how expensive gas was. I figured those guys must be rich!)
age 8: pro soccer player
age 10: besketball player for the Celtics
age 12-20: scientist
age 20: photograher
22-onward: no freakin’ idea

actual jobs
15-22: pharmacy assitant
19-22: photographer
20-23: library assistant
23-25: English teacher in Japan
25-26: Brand consultant
26-28: Co-ordinator for satellite and undersea cable communication projects
28-29: Marketing manger for Internet company
29-31: English Teacher
28-31(present): Wedding Minister (weekends)
28-31(present): TV extra (occasional)
30-31(present): Ad copywriter (full-time)

My career ambitions history:
[li]Ages 4 to 7: Farmer. I wanted own several acres out in the country with a big red barn and live in a nice, cozy house.[/li][li]Ages 8 to 11: Astronomer. I thought about how cool it would be to look through those giant telescopes and gaze at planets and stars all the time, perhaps even find aliens living out there somewhere.[/li][li]Ages 12 to 13: Meteorologist. Astronomy, as a career, seemed beyond my reach, but since I was also fascinated by weather phenomena I thought this might make a good alternative.[/li][li]Ages 14 to 16: Guitar player in a rock band. I could play guitar, my other friends could play bass and drums, and that’s all we needed, so why not?[/li][li]Ages 17 to 19: Civil engineer. My dad always thought I had the right aptitude for civil engineering and he talked me into persuing it when I got to college. The calculus class I failed and some personal problems I was going through ended that persuit.[/li][li]Ages 20 to 22: Business management. I took some business classes after coming to the realization that engineering wasn’t for me. I graduated with an associate degree.[/li][li]Current: I’m satisfied with what I am doing now, but if I had to do it all over again I’d want to be a computer programmer.[/li][/ul]

My actual work history:
[li]Ages 15-18: Did janitorial work for my dad at his drugstore.[/li][li]Ages 18 to 24: Burger King, was assistant manager for the last three years of it.[/li][li]Ages 25 to 30: OfficeMax, electronics department supervisor when I left. This job was interrupted by a brief stint doing technical support, but when that didn’t work out I went back to OfficeMax.[/li][li]Ages 30-current: Printer testing.[/li][/ul]

AgeLater on I thought I might want to follow in my dad’s footsteps and be a pharmacist like him. In junior high school I wanted to be a meteorologist since I was fascinated with weather

Ignore the last few lines of my last post. These are editing leftovers that I forgot to remove before submitting. I should also explain that I briefly entertained the idea of being a pharmacist like my dad, but he talked me out of this.

I didn’t put in all the actual jobs I’ve had, because most of them weren’t on what I would consider my career path, but here goes:

  • paperboy
  • fruit picker
  • dishwasher
  • stacked hay behind a baler, easily the worst job I’ve had
  • shelved books in a library
  • clerical help in a university office and an insurance company
  • construction laborer
  • spent a summer building fixtures in a soon-to-be-opened department store
  • amateur pipefitter in a research lab
  • read technical books onto a tape for a blind guy
  • construction engineer trainee at a nuclear power plant
  • automotive design engineer
  • taught college for three summers
  • aerospace structural engineer

I wanted to be Dracula as a kid. Don’t know when I figured it wouldn’t work out.

Actual jobs:

11 - 13 years old: Lumber mill worker
14 - 19 years old: Kitchen help in restaurant worked up to chef
20 years old: Cook for Marine Corps OCS
21-23 years old: Legislative clerk for VA House of Delegates
23 years old: Division manager for US Commerce Department
24-present: Land use planner for three municipal governments and one VA executive agency